31 December 2009
28 December 2009
25 December 2009
"I am so confused." I told Mr. B. tonight after he came back from dinner with a small group of friends to celebrate Christmas Eve. "I just read that Jesus was not actually born on the 25th of December."
"Yeah? What else have you read?" he asked.
"That his real birth date should have been spring or summer, and that the commemoration was moved to replace an ancient Roman festival."
"You probably also read about a lot of conflicting stories, too."
"Yes. Theologians, scholars, historians all have different views and opinions about it - the time, the place, the entire circumstance of Jesus' birth. Do you know which one to believe in?" I inquired.
"No, I don't know." Mr. B. answered. "I don't have to know and I don't think anyone will ever know what the real story was."
"Then why is everyone partying tonight?" I got even more confused. "Why are they celebrating something they don't fully understand?"
"A lot of people don't understand. They don't get it."
"I don't get it too, Mr. B." I said.
"All I know is this - Jesus was born. In his lifetime, he preached about love. In his death, his message spread across the earth. Does it really matter what those theologians, scholars and historians say? The most important thing is the message he bought to the world. The message of love and peace. The exact date of his birth doesn't matter. What matters is that humans decided to pick one day in a year to celebrate his birth, to commemorate the wondrous message he brought."
"So it's not about party and food? and gifts? and snow? and Santa and his reindeers?"
"Never. It has always been about his message. If the world, or at least part of the world can come together for just one day in a year to live Jesus' message of loving and caring and reaching out to others, isn't that great enough? Wouldn't it be a better world? Even for just a day? " he explained.
"I see. Can I say happy birthday to him today?"
"Today is as good as any other day, as long as you remember him and what he stood for."
"I understand now, Mr. B. Can I light the candle in our Nativity this year?"
20 December 2009
19 December 2009
13 December 2009
12 December 2009
"What are you writing, Mr. B.?"
"Christmas cards. I need to mail them tomorrow so they make it before Christmas Day!" he answered without looking up, carefully writing, doodling, placing stickers on elaborate, glittering cards he had on the table.
"Why not just send them online? It's easier and faster, no?"
"That is so not sincere! I still prefer the good old fashion Christmas cards. I think people will appreciate that you take the time and effort to buy them, write them and go to the post office to mail them!" he said showing me this 3-dimensional card with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus costumes he plans to send to his mom and dad. "Nice, huh?"
"Do you get them too, Mr. B.?"
"Oh yes of course! Birthday cards, Christmas cards, Thank you cards. I never throw them away."
"Well, I throw the envelopes away after I cut out the stamps because I collect them. But I keep the cards. Somewhere, I believe. I like reading them again after a while."
"So humans write greeting cards because they are so far away from each other?"
"Not really. They write cards for any occasions, regardless of the distance. It is a very sweet gesture." he said.
I never wrote a card in my life ever. Perhaps I should buy one and mail it back to Mr. B. I am sure he will be surprise to find my card. I will write how much I appreciate him for taking care of me. Maybe I should also send out cards to everyone who reads my blog... but I wouldn't know where to mail them.
Oh well, I will find a way, I'm sure.
Video: Richard Tan singing No One Throws Away Memories
09 December 2009
03 December 2009
30 November 2009
Humans come in units called families comprise of father, mother and children. Sometimes when children are born, they are already destined to follow the footsteps of their fathers or mothers, or even surpass them. That is because the parents themselves willed so, even when they don't say so. This is where "making your parents proud" becomes a lifelong source of angst and frustration to the children, which they usually carry on throughout their adult lives.
In the human world of materialism, I observe that like being successful means making a lot of money, having a prominent position in a large company, owning a large house and a luxurious car, being a well-known member of the society, or a combination of any of the above. Being espoused to another human with the same level of success would be the crowning glory. Anything less would mean failure. Failure as a person to oneself, failure as a child to your parents. One would then be branded a "loser".
In many ways, I feel the same way sometimes. I must "do something" to make Mr. B. proud of me. Even dogs must learn a few tricks to make their masters happy. Happy and proud. Perhaps if I can show Mr. B. how many people are reading my blog, that would make him proud of my accomplishment. Or perhaps it's not enough, never enough.
Every night he comes home, the first thing Mr. B. would do is to carry me and give me the biggest hug. Perhaps he already love me for who I am, not having to do anything else. Perhaps one day, if I'm allowed, I'll make him proud.
Video credit: Matthew Thomas singing Proud from Britannia High.
25 November 2009
23 November 2009
22 November 2009
17 November 2009
08 November 2009
Last week has been particularly busy for Mr. B. having to entertain colleagues from various parts of the world. This would involve eating a lot of good food and drinking a lot of alcohol. Whenever he had the chance, Mr. B. would enjoy a nice slab of pan-seared foie gras de canard (that's pan-fried duck liver).
"Do you know that they gavage those poor birds to give you that rich, delicate, buttery duck or goose liver you are enjoying?" I ask Mr. B. giving him an accusing look.
"Force feeding. Humans shove a metal tube down the birds' throats and force food into them so their livers will become abnormally large and full of fat." I explained what I read to him.
"Really? I thought they found a new and more humane way to produce foie gras?" he said.
"I think they have. They are now using rubber tubes!" I replied.
"Those poor birds! What about pate de foie gras? I love pate too!" Mr. B. said.
"Does it make any different? Pate is still 50% made of fattened liver from poor geese and ducks!"
I think there is no such thing as humane foie gras. A number of countries have laws against force feeding of animals or the sale of foie gras because of how it is produced. Some world-renown chefs have shown their support and refuse to include this item in their menu.
Humans are strange. They eat fattened goose liver and in turn get their livers fat as well. I cannot comprehend why they do that. I made Mr. B. promise not to eat foie gras or any form of pate anymore unless it is made from chicken or pig's liver.
"Just don't eat livers. They are not good for you anyway." I told Mr. B. as I hug him to console his loss of one of his favorite food.
In the meantime, the French law states that "Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France." In short "we want our goose liver so buzz off!"
Photo credit: La Comptoir Gastronomique
02 November 2009
29 October 2009
28 October 2009
I think life is like a journey. As humans travel along, they encounter a lot of things - things that may be happy or sad, or things that make one mad. There are good days, there are bad days. It's all part of the journey. Some humans stop their vehicles dwelling on the bad parts, others shrug their shoulders and drive along, optimistic that the good bits will come ahead.There was a point in Mr. B.'s journey when he stopped and refused to continue. This was many, many years ago. Something happened that made him lost all hopes that anything good was waiting down the road. He was there right in the middle of the lonely road, deserted, alone. Then along comes ME! He decided to give it another shot. The days to come could be challenging. But he thought at leas the had my company.
Ten years on and the journey has been quite smooth-sailing, well, driving. There were bad days, but mostly good days. Along the way he found D., who also boarded the vehicle. They took turns driving. It was something great. Something they both wanted.
Now I am happy to take the back seat watching the two of them driving along. I am happy to see two hopeful travellers in the journey of life.
Life could be complicated and frustrating sometimes. But I think there is no need to stop and muse over that for too long. One should just step on the gas and move on.
Video: Travel Hopefully from Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical By Jeeves.
24 October 2009
19 October 2009
17 October 2009
RS: Congratulations on your 100th post, Becker. How do you feel today?
B: Thank you, Russell, I feel fantastic! I never thought I would start a blog like this. I couldn’t believe that humans would actually read and enjoy it.
RS: It seems like in just a few months, you already have a decent followings judging from your post box and the comments which are mostly positive.
B: That is true. And I am very happy that humans actually like my ranting, well, observations, about their lives.
RS: Where do you get your inspiration from?
B: Mr. B. would be my primary source. I think he live a very colorful life. He has such rich experiences that I can draw from. My friendship with him, the things we share on a daily basis, all these are my sources of inspiration.
RS: Are there any posts that are particularly memorable to you?
B: Sure. The most memorable ones are those that are deeply personal, where I somehow connect with human experiences. These are also the posts where I get most positive feedbacks from readers. I could think of a few now – Did He Die For Me Too? Dancing In The Dark and Daddy’s Boy were particularly emotional for me. To Say Goodbye and The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes were written as tributes to Mr. B.’s friends who passed away. Those were emotional as well.
RS: That doesn’t sound like you. A lot of people said that you are quite cynical and critical in real life. Is that true?
B: I could be that way if I wanted to. It could be my means of defense against unpleasant humans or animals. If I did sound like I was being cruel or brutal sometimes, especially to a particular species, it was just me being playful. I hope my readers will understand that.
RS: What about fun stuffs? Any memorable posts on lighter topics?
B: Lots of them! Sometimes I like to poke fun on Mr. B., especially about topics like his age or his weight. There Will Come A Day, His Salad Days, Are You Serious? and Glamorous At 50 comes to mind. I also enjoy writing about music and movies. Those are fun.
RS: How about travel?
B: Since I started this blog, I only got to travel once – to Sydney with Mr. B. and D. It was a super fun trip as you can see in the photos. I also posted a few stories from my trip – A Room With A View, Don’t You Want Me, Baby? and Eating Sydney. I would like to travel more and write more about those trips. I think traveling broadens up a bear’s mind.
RS: Some people say that you are Mr. B.’s alter ego. What can you say about that?
B: I honestly do not like that word – alter ego. It was first invented when schizophrenia was discovered and these people were supposed to live “double” or “multiple” lives. Mr. B. and I are not psychologically identical. We’re best of friends who share a lot of things in common. We are very different in many ways too.
RS: Are you saying that you don’t agree on certain things as well?
B: Definitely! He is a natural worrier. His life is built around the funny farm so I guess that makes up a big part of his character. The Fine Art Of Anger shows how certain situations get into his nerve quite quickly.
RS: Talking about funny farm. You seem to post a lot about it.
B: Oh yes! It started with Funny Farm Adventures which I posted in April. It is actually the place where Mr. B. works. Two readers, Panda and SheepM seem to enjoy my story on the funny farm and its members. There was a follow-up post called Energy Suckers Identified! which I thought was hilarious. That said, Mr. B. forbade me to write too much about the funny farm in fear of losing his job.
RS: That serious?
B: Well, you know how strange humans are. Anything can happen.
RS: What are your plans? What can your readers expect from Becker’s Eyes in the future?
B: I don’t have anything planned in particular, to be honest. I want my blog to be spontaneous. I don’t have a set agenda. But I want it to be fun, entertaining, inspiring and most importantly relevant to the lives of other humans.
RS: Is there anything you wish to say to your readers out there?
B: Oh yes! I want to thank all my readers for checking out my blog, for leaving your comments and suggestions as well as your encouragements. There are a few humans that I need to give my appreciation to – to D. for being so supportive of this blog; to SheepM and Panda for following my posts closely; to my followers Zookeeper, Jim and QQ; to my “silent” supporters Hender, Tiff, Courtney, BB, Bel and Lisa; to Vivian from Chicago; to Wen from London; to Mary from Portland; to Tom from Portsmouth; siennalee, your messages are always heartwarming. To everyone who ever passed this way, I thank you all! Best of all, I want to thank Mr. B. for sharing his life with me, he will be my best friend forever.
RS: It has been great talking to you, Becker. I am sure your reader will continue to support your blog.
15 October 2009
Fast forward almost 30 years, someone thought of doing a remake of this classic and employed a choreographer and concert director to direct the film. Fame 2009 was release a few weeks back to generally negative reviews.
Critics mostly point out the movie's "lack of likeable characters" unlike the original one where audience can relate to the pains and struggles of Coco, Montgomery and Ralph. There also seems to be a "lack of resolution" in the movie where none of the characters developed, grew or learned anything. One basher said it best - "Why bother remaking this movie?"
Wanting to have my own take on this. I searched to find the main theme "Fame" online and this is what I got.
I say, eewww!
A lot of humans may be too young to remember the original Fame. If the critics were right, these young people are so unfortunate to only have Fame 2009. This makes me want to revisit the original Fame which Mr. B. has a DVD of.
12 October 2009
"Now I have something to look forward to again!" he excitedly told me.
I am not a big fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber and I know that a lot of people don't like him as well. That is why I don't understand why Mr. B. thinks it is a great blessing and privilege to enjoy his music and/or watch his shows. Sure, he wrote music about great people, real and fictional - Jesus, Eva Peron, Jeeves, Joseph and Norma Desmond. He also wrote music about fun things - like trains and cats, and not-so-fun things - like soccer, mysterious woman, mysterious man and confusing love affairs. But he was also accused of plagiarism many times - from rock music to classic opera, although he was never formally proven guilty on anything.
Somehow, seeing Mr. B. so excited about the whole thing gives me some sort of relief. I know that he will be following this event very closely. As tedious as his life is now, perhaps it is good to have something "to look forward to".
Perhaps, Baron Lloyd Webber should write a musical called "Bears", then I would be a fan.
Video : Ramin Karimloo singing Till I Hear You Sing (Once More)
11 October 2009
05 October 2009
03 October 2009
29 September 2009
"I bet I can make a movie about your life using Madonna's music as soundtrack!" I declared to Mr. B. tonight. "Here is how it would go..."
Everybody (1983): A teenage Mr. B. fascinated by the video of this singer called Madonna. Cool outfit. Cool dance steps. Life has just begun. University life is fun.
Borderline (1983): Stargazer disco. One with a high ceiling at opens up to the sky. He is literally dancing with the stars!
Open Your Heart (1986): Mr. B. enjoying earning his own living. First relationship. Weekend with friends. Checking out all the best dance clubs in the city. His only problem is which direction to comb his hair that day.
True Blue (1986): He thinks he can be a great DJ. Fearlessly presented himself to the owner of the best dance club in Manila but is told he needs to invest in a professional player in order to practice at home. There goes his dream.
Who’s That Girl? (1987): A hopeful Mr. B. leaves Manila and lands in Taipei in search of a better life. A new kid in town. He gives himself 3-5 years, then he shall move on.
Into The Groove (Dub Version) (1987): NASA – one of the hippest places to dance in Taipei. Mr. B. lands in his first job as an account executive in an advertising agency. He buys himself a Walkman and invites a girl to a dance club.
Like A Prayer (1989): Second relationship. Pure and innocent. Wide-eyed and hopeful. Everything seems to be going well until they had to part.
Rain (1993): London. Gatwick Airport. Mr. B. cries on his way back to Taipei knowing that he can never mend a broken relationship as another person is involved now.
Ray of Light (1998): La Vida Loca. Third relationship. Whirlwind. Love and passion unlike anything he ever experienced before.
Nothing Really Matters (1998): A devastating break-up. The darkest point of the movie. Xanax and sleeping aids. Hate and revenge prevails. Then a small light of hope – me, Becker, appears in his life.
Music / American Life (2003): A more matured and calm Mr. B. DJing in a club – something he always dreamed of doing. He meets D. It isn’t love at first sight. It just grows.
Hung Up (2008): Mr. B. and D. still together. Relationship stronger than ever. D. meets Mr. B.'s parents. All is well.
Celebration (2009): What else is there to say? Mr. B. may be too old to dance but he still loves Madonna's music. He holds D. hand and looks back on the life he had. This is just the beginning, he says to himself. I smile.
27 September 2009
Scott James is plain looking. At 21, he is autistic and never left the house for 7 years except for schooling because he had difficulty in connecting socially. Last week, he stood in front of two thousand and sang You Raise Me Up with all his heart. Auditioning for one of the world's biggest talent show X Factor is daunting enough for normal people. It must have taken a lot of courage for people like Scott to do it. With the help and support of Mother Sharon and Teacher Linzie, he wowed the audience, received 4 yes's from the judges and got through for the next round.
It is true that when God closes one door, He opens a window. Perhaps from there, Scott can see a bright future for himself.
Video credit : ITV X Factor
23 September 2009
Tonight, Mr. B. and I watched Stranger Among Bears, a television documentary about Charlie Vandergaw, a 70-year-old man in Alaska who constructed a cabin in the middle of the woods and called it Bear Haven and fed grizzly and black bears for many years. In the show, Vandergaw would touch, feed, pet and even film the bears similar to what deceased eco-warrior Timothy Treadwell used to do before he was eventually killed and devoured by grizzlies in 2003.
Vandergaw was once a hunter and killed many bears in his lifetime. But at some point, he stopped the practice and started coexisting with them in a more friendly way in the last 20 years. The Alaskan government recently charged Vandergaw with 20 counts of illegally feeding game - a charge that could put him in jail for a year and fine him $10,000.
A lot of people think that what this gentleman is doing is actually harmful and upsets the natural eco-system because he has habituated the bears to depend on him for food, and made them used to being around people. They believe that bears should stay in the wild.
We haven't seen the last episode of the series, but it seems like Vandergaw's life with bears in the Alaskan wilderness is coming to an end due to increasing pressure from state authorities, including a raid by state troopers, plus the fact that he is getting too old. He might be saying goodbye to his beloved bears for the last time.
"The government will never put me to jail for having you and the rest bears here at home." Mr. B. said proudly after the show.
"And that I will never attack you!" I replied. "I will only put you in my blog as a revenge if you are not nice to me."
Video and photo credit : Animal Planet